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Hay fever is, excuse my French, a bitch. As one of the most common allergic conditions around, the NHS estimates that more than 10 million of us are affected by Hay fever each year. Symptoms include itchy eyes, nose and/or throat, a runny nose, and sneezing. At best you might be lucky to get away with a bit of an itchy nose, at worst it’s like having a really bad cold, you feel exhausted, you can barely open your eyes, and all you want to crawl into bed, draw the curtains, cover your head and sleep.
With such a plethora of over the counter medications on offer, Hay fever can be a costly business, but cost aside many of us don’t want to spend our summers shoving tablets in our mouths, sprays up our nose, or drops in our eyes. If you want to take a natural approach, The NHS, bless them, recommends wearing wrap around sunglasses, and rubbing a small amount of petroleum jelly around your nostrils, both of which can help the pollen from entering the body. They also suggest avoiding pollen by staying indoors when pollen levels are particularly high, and regular showering throughout the day / changing of clothes. Very useful, but not really very practical for most of us - so what other natural treatments are there?
For me it was a few treatments of Bowen one spring that held the key to largely eliminating my hay fever symptoms, and, along with the huge positive impact it had on my son’s asthma, it’s what convinced me to train as a Bowen Therapist. With just 3 treatments I’ve managed to remain pretty symptom free, and I probably have a top-up treatment every other year. The treatment itself was, and continues to be, simple, pain free and deeply relaxing, and don’t just trust me, back in 2000 The Telegraph featured an article on how one of their reporters found themselves free from lifelong Hay fever after just 3 Bowen sessions. The link to the article is here - but do remember that the prices quoted are from nearly 20 years ago!
So if you’re already dreading the thought of the arrival of Hay fever season, then why not take a different approach this year? Book yourself a Bowen treatment before your Hay fever season starts so that you can enjoy this summer without tablets, sprays, drops and a bag full of tissues.
To find out more how Bowen might be able to help you with your Hay fever symptoms, then please contact me.
What does a Bowen Hay Fever Treatment Entail?
In Bowen we treat the whole body and not just the symptoms or conditions, you won't be surprised to know that ! will be working on your whole body, and not just your eyes, mouth and nose! This makes sense when you understand that Hay Fever is an allergic reaction to an irritant - and while that irritant may enter our eyes, nose or mouth, it is not those specific areas of the body that are reacting, it is our immune system, which in turn is governed by other environmental and chemical factors, and this means your lymphatic system, your kidneys and your diaphragm all have a part to play.
During the treatment you will be lying fully clothed on a couch while I make a number of gentle moves over key area's of the body. After every 4-6 moves I will leave the room to give your body a 'therapeutic pause'. These pauses are an essential part of a Bowen treatment, and they allow your body to process the work that I have done and start that healing process - helping those changes the body make to be long-term, if not permanent.
How Reiki Rocked my World
So, I feel it’s quite a big deal this, admitting to you all that I believe in universal energy, but I do - and I thought it was about time that I outed myself!
Believing in universal energy does not require me to believe in any deity of any description, or to believe in angels or fairies*. I don’t need to wear flowers in my hair or diaphanous clothing, I’m not required to burn incense, clear my house with sage, sing, dance, chant, draw symbols, be vegetarian or vegan, have crystals in every pocket and on every shelf, or walk around bare footed connecting with the earth. All it requires from me is to be me, to accept its existence and to know that it always, always, acts for my higher good.
And trust me, I do. Even when things seem to be going wrong, even though it might be hard to accept, I know that there is a reason, that there is something I might need to learn, and this in itself is so comforting - just to trust in the process knowing that there is a reason. It’s something that I can harness when I need support to achieve, to do right - I know that all I have to do is ask and, if it’s for my higher good, the energy is there and what I need comes. If it doesn’t, well, then it wasn’t needed.
My world was totally rocked by this discovery, by this acceptance, 4 years ago when I had my first ever Reiki treatment with the wonderful Julia Reeves of Bury St Edmunds Reiki, and I haven’t looked back since. While I will use Bowen to deal with my aches and pains, it’s Reiki I turn to each month to address my emotional and mental health and well-being: I find the treatments deeply relaxing and peaceful, and afterwards I feel refreshed, re-energised and re-balanced - ready to face the world for another month. And now I am a qualified Reiki practitioner.
I love the sense of peace and calm that a Reiki treatment can bring to my clients, the improved sense of health and well-being. I don’t diagnose, cure, or treat specific symptoms or conditions during my treatments - I am there to act as a conduit for that universal energy, to create a safe healing space for your body to re-balance itself and allow that energy to flow freely for your higher good.
Reiki has changed my life for the better and I believe has made me a better person - I’m not perfect, I don’t always do the right thing, but I don’t worry as much, I don’t get as angry about life as I used, I try my best to be more humble, and to be kinder and more considerate of others. I don’t always succeed, but I do at least try!
To find out more about Reiki, or to book a treatment, Reiki page or click on this link to take you to the here of my website.
*I should admit here that I do believe in fairies. My grandmother was one. But, that's another story for another day.
Life and the importance of creating your own rhythms
Where would we be without rhythm? I’m not just talking about rhythm in terms of a good tune, but about the way that rhythm is interwoven in to and throughout every element of our lives.
Rhythm is part of our natural environment on a huge scale - the sun, the moon and the stars all wax, wane, shine and twinkle in a rhythm, there is the continual ebb and flow of water, the changing rhythm of the seasons, the cycles of sowing and reaping. There is a rhythm to our body, the pumping of the heart, the circadian, infradian and ultradian rhythms, the act of breathing in and out. All of these form part of our natural state of being and are crucial to our existence, but there are also the rhythms that we create for ourselves, the rhythms of our everyday lives, our journeys to and from work, break patterns, buying food, cooking food, when we clean the house, when we do the laundry, when we sit down for 5 minutes for a cup of tea before the kids come rolling in from school. This week it suddenly dawned on me that these created rhythms are just as important as our natural ones.
For some time now I’ve felt slightly odd, slightly adrift, and I haven’t been able to put my finger on why; I’m in a job that I love with a business that is growing and I finally feel financially stable, why should I be feeling like this? But then I realised that the last four years have seen some major upheavals and changes in my life, including setting up my own business, and in order to give me the space I needed to cope with these many of my old rhythms and patterns had fallen by the wayside. Today I no longer work set hours, and shopping, cooking and cleaning have all become frantic last minute acts of desperation that I seem to complete by the seat of my pants in the little ‘free time’ I allow myself to have.
There is a very strong argument that says, “It doesn’t matter, relax about these things!”, and to a huge extent I absolutely agree - nothing bad has happened and nothing bad will, but I liked some of those rhythms! I miss them because they gave me some order and structure, they gave me down time because, after all, what can you do when peeling vegetables or sorting and folding loads of washing, but give yourself up to the rhythm of the task? They enabled me to have ‘free time’ because I wasn’t always playing catch-up, and, to be perfectly honest, they gave me a great deal of personal satisfaction and pleasure, and a sense of being. Without these rhythms I feel adrift, I feel as though my ‘seams’ have become loose and need sewing back together again. I’m not foolish enough to want them all back in one go, or to know that I necessarily need exactly the same rhythms back, but I do want something because those rhythms helped me to anchor myself in my world.
This realisation has come at the perfect time. Being so close to the spring equinox it feels like it is the right time to reconnect with my life, to listen to the natural rhythms around and within me, and to start creating some of my own to weave those torn seams back together again, one thread at a time. Today I have made the first few stitches by setting my work hours down in black and white for all to see - including me. Tomorrow I will start with a simple mushroom tart.
Growing your therapy business in 2019: Marketing - your identity and print media
My guess is, if you’re reading this Blog it’s because you have not been born into a world where digital and social media is second nature to you. You are probably still paddling your feet in the learner pool of websites and Facebook, desperately clinging to the safety of your Vistaprint business cards, looking over with a mixture of fear and envy at the scary world of social media.
I am at the beginning of my digital and social media journey, so what I offer you in the next few Blogs is not a definitive guide, but a starting point. But, before we can even start there are two things you need to do. This first is decide what you are going to call yourself because when it comes to names we are going to have to disagree with Mr Shakespeare that, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. Take a look at these corkers:
If you can’t see them above, try looking at them now:
So when it comes to choosing who you are, write your chosen name out as a web address and make sure reads well!
The second thing to think about is, who else is called this? The reason this matters is because you want your identity to be the same across all your digital platforms. If you look at me for example, I am:
Web - sarahwoodhousetherapy.co.uk
Facebook - @sarahwoodhousetherapy
Instagram - @sarahwoodhousetherapy
This gives me my identity and makes me easy to find.
Print media can’t be ignored, and very often this is the first place that people start, and it’s a great place to start because what you do in your print media can be used as preparation for your digital and social media platforms.
It’s often easy to get completely carried away when you first start a business and think that you need a fancy logo, business cards and leaflets. If you are at that point now, STOP.
Logo’s: You don’t need a logo. If you are starting out then you have got better things to do with both your time and money than get someone to design a logo for you. However, if it’s something you desperately want then why not try something like https://logojoy.com/, who allow you to do this for free.
Business Cards: Business Cards are useful, but you may find that you don’t use them as much as you might expect to, so again don’t go crazy and order hundreds. Some people do use them as appointment cards, but don’t feel as though you need to have them for this as many clients prefer to enter their appointment details direct into their phones. There are lots of great organisations out there that enable you to print your own business cards - Vista Print being probably the most well known. I prefer www.moo.com who have a beautiful selection of cards in a variety of finishes.
Leaflets: If you need leaflets to explain your therapy then I recommend that you contact your professional organisation and get leaflets through them - there is no point reinventing the wheel! Again I would say to use caution when ordering and don’t just assume you are going to need leaflets; I still have leaflets that I ordered 3 years ago from a professional organisation that I’ve never used.
At this juncture it’s probably worth mentioning a few tools that might help you in both your print and digital / social media.
Finding images that are royalty free, i.e. you don’t have to pay to use them, can be a real pain in the backside. Please remember that you should not just be copying photographs, or presenting other people’s images wherever you find them,without getting permission from the person that took them as that is against copyright law. What you can do is use a great free resource like www.pixabay.com that has loads and loads of free to use photographs. An account is free and it really is as simple as that.
Canva is a great tool that you can use to create professional looking posts and you can find it at www.canva.com. It enables you to select a format size you want, and add your own photographs, filters, writing, and other various elements. It also has templates already set up, ready for you to use, that you can just adapt to your own needs. Again an account is free, and most of the functions are free. You just download your finished project onto your laptop and you are good to go.
PowerPoint is an unexpected friend to the therapist, especially when it comes to leaflet design - Canva is no good for this as it has American paper sizes as default. Once you’ve created your leaflet in PowerPoint, all you need to do is save it as a PDF file and it’s ready to send to your local printers and / or upload to your website.
I think that’s probably enough for this post. Next time we’ll take a look at websites, Facebook, and Instagram. But, in the meantime you need to:
Growing your therapy business in 2019: Place
One of the great things about being a therapist is that there is a lot of flexibility in terms of where you can work from, including:
They all have their advantages and disadvantages.
Working from home can be great and there are lots of advantages, not least that you don’t need to pay any rent! It is worth taking a look at this document www.gov.uk/run-business-from-home which gives you an outline of some of the legal things you might need to consider if you are going to run your business from home. Key things include:
Other things you may want to also consider are:
Top Tip: Pop a little sign by the entrance you are using, “Please do not ring the bell more than 5 minutes prior to your appointment as I may be with another client.” This means that you get the breaks you need in between clients.
RENTING PREMISES / RENTING A ROOM
You might not want to work from home, or you may not have the option of working from home, so you might want to consider renting your own premises or renting a room in an already established premises. One of the great advantages of this is that you can completely separate work from home. Where you are working from an established therapy premises you may also be able to leave out publicity materials or be featured on their website etc. However, the one big disadvantage is of course the cost and the commitment.
Rental costs, and terms and conditions vary from place to place so you need to make sure that you understand the terms and conditions of any rental agreement before you sign it - and if it doesn’t make sense to you then seek professional advice. If you are renting out a commercial premises this could include:
When looking at renting a room you should also look at whether or not your rental time includes client turn around and what equipment and facilities are provided and what you need to provide yourself. Some established premises may also require you to have a minimum amount of experience as a therapist.
Thinking outside the box
When looking for premises / a room to rent, don’t just think about established premises, think outside the box and consider premises like your local village hall, gyms and Doctors surgery.
Going mobile is another alternative. This option is great if you are not able / don’t want to work from home, can’t afford / don’t want to rent a premises or a room. You are also able to claim the mileage to and from home as an expenses. There are lots of things you need to think about, including:
One of the big disadvantages of being mobile is arriving at a clients house to find that they are not in, so it will pay dividends in the long term if you develop a system of appointment confirmation and a very clear cancellation policy.
LONE WORKER POLICY
Whether you work from home, your own premises or are mobile, something you need to consider is a Lone Worker Policy. As you are often going to be on your own with a client, you are entitled to write a lone worker policy that states that you will only treat male / female clients, or that you will only treat male / female clients who have been personally recommended by an existing client. This is all perfectly legal BUT you must have this written up as a policy document.
So, when looking into where to work from make sure you:
Next time: What’s in a name? Looking at why your identity can play such a crucial role in promoting yourself across digital, social and print media.